RJ Mitchell spent 12 years with Strathclyde Police before leaving to concentrate full-time on writing.
His first crime thriller was Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy and he’s used his police experiences for three more. He’s just finished a 30-date promotional tour for his latest book, The Shadow Of Fear, for which he’s already writing the sequel.
He still lives with his wife and family in Stirling.
Last October, it was a tale of two cities for the Mitchell clan.
Oxford had a special lure for me as it’s the location for my favourite TV detective, Inspector Morse.
I was delighted to find my wife had booked us into a hotel that had featured in the Morse spin-off Lewis.
The Oxford Malmaison Hotel was originally the city’s Gothic Victorian jail and served as HMP Oxford from 1888 until 1996.
Now the old A Wing is converted into luxury hotel rooms with three cells making one unique bedchamber. It offered a singularly atmospheric stopover and one that even my 13-year-old daughter Ava really “got”.
Mrs Mitchell booked us on an Inspector Morse tour of the city which gave the opportunity to haunt the lanes, pubs and colleges where both Endeavour, the Inspector Morse prequel show, and the original Morse series were shot.
While you walk in the footsteps of the great man, beware of the menace of the bicycles that come whirring out of nowhere. Woe betide you if you fail to react in time to the warning ring of a bell!
I’d recommend lunch at The Turf Tavern, the 13th Century hostelry which featured in a Morse episode.
Tucked away down St Helen’s Passage, which was Hell Passage in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, it provides the type of pub lunch and pint on the side that would leave the great man raising an eyebrow of satisfaction.
Next stop was a visit to York, with the medieval walls which you can wander at your will to take in the sights and sounds.
Of course no trip to York would be complete without a trip to the Minster and we were lucky enough to enjoy the choristers practising for Evensong.
Of course, all that sightseeing is thirsty work and I’d recommend Ye Olde Starre Inn, which dates to 1644.
It’s a pub where Morse would have been more than happy to wet his whistle had he wandered, on police business of course, from his Oxford beat.
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